What to Bring on a Cruise
Hanging Shoe Bag
Nightlight or Flashlight
I know this sounds really random but it is really handy to have a highlighter to keep in your bag to highlight any of the activities you want to participate in on the ship.
Motion Sickness Medicine
You likely won’t need it, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. There is nothing worse than being sick on a cruise. We made sure to pack different variations of motion sickness items. Luckily, we didn’t need them.
Our foldable backpack came in handy for heading out on excursions to carry our water and personal items. It was also handy to carry items we bought while at the port.
Cardigan or Wrap
Although it may be hot outside the dining rooms tend to be a bit chilly. Travel wraps are great for flights as on an airplane and I can quickly throw it into my bag.
Flip Flops are great for sea days and lounging by the pool. Even if you don’t plan on lounging by the pool, I always like to have something on my feet in the room.
Wrinkle Release Spray
However, due to a lot of cruise line rules (fire codes!), you are often hard-pressed to find an iron to get those wrinkles out of your poorly packed business casual clothes.
Which is why a small bottle of wrinkle release spray is a life saver when cruising around! The best part is they are only a few bucks and can make all the difference in the look of your clothing.
As a former purser who worked on cruise ships in the Caribbean for almost two years, the most important things that I always recommend taking on a cruise are sunscreen and aloe vera. Often the first day of a cruise is at sea, and relaxing by the pool is the perfect antidote to your pre-vacation stress. However, the Caribbean sun is strong and whether you are relaxing by the pool on board or going on one of the awesome shore excursions that are available, chances are you will spend a lot of time in the sun.
Even if you are cruising Alaska or Antarctica, you will be outside in the sun. Adequate sun protection is essential and I always like to have a different sunscreen for my face, as well, so that my eyes don’t get sore and my skin is taken care of. Of course, prevention is better than a cure, but if you do get too much sun, aloe vera will help with repair your skin. You can buy these on board, but bringing your favourite brand with you is much better than being limited to the expensive and more limited selection available on board.
Pack a Fan
Jessica of Honey Moon Always
Using snorkel gear on a cruise in Cozumel, Mexico
Laura of Travel Addicts
Our go-to item to pack for a cruise is our own snorkel gear set. Yes, you can rent snorkel gear from vendors in the different ports, but that can get to be expensive. And if you do one of the expensive ship-organized shore excursions, snorkel gear will be provided. However, if you own your own snorkel equipment, every port of call can be a chance to snorkel without the expensive excursions or tours. You can show up at any beach and have a great experience.
Our decision to buy snorkel gear was primarily driven the unsanitary equipment we encountered on various snorkel excursions. The idea of putting something in your mouth that literally thousands of others have before is kind of repulsive. We take our own snorkel equipment on every one of our cruises.
Cruise Card Holder and Lanyard
The most important thing you carry on a cruise is your Cruise Card. When you check in, you will get a card that’s tied to your credit card. This is your ID to get on and off the ship, and it’s used every time you want to buy something on the ship. Want a drink? Swipe the card. Need to pick up something at the shop? Swipe the card. Want to play bingo? Swipe the card. Get on the ship? Swipe the card.
As a woman, I don’t always have pockets and I don’t always want to carry a bag around the ship. There’s no reason to carry other ID or cards, cash on the ship because of the Cruise Card. So a very handy accessory is a Cruise Card Holder and Lanyard. Not only is the card handy whenever you need it, but you can also put your lanyard on in the morning and forget it. If you are going into town, it’s easy to remove it and store it in your purse.
Swimwear and Coverup
A must-have item on your cruise packing list is swimwear! No matter which season you are planning to cruise, or where you are going, there
will almost always be an opportunity to go swimming so you will need something to wear. If you are cruising around the islands during the summertime you will need a few different options as there will be endless opportunities to spend your days at the beach. And while you are not out exploring, there will be endless opportunities to relax and soak up the sun on deck around the pool. If you want to tan, you might want to bring a small bikini, but if you plan on doing any water sports, you may want to opt for something more sporty. Heading on a Winter cruise? You will still need swimwear. Ok, you may not be spending your days on the beach, however, most cruises will have a spa or jacuzzi and you will kick yourself if you don’t have swimwear with you!
James of Portugalist
My “must pack” item for a cruise is my Kindle. I don’t travel without this, regardless of whether or not I’m going on a cruise, but I find cruises are particularly apt for relaxing and getting some good reading done. This is definitely true if you have a couple of days at sea, but even on shorter and busier cruises, it’s still possible to grab a couple of hours of reading time here and there.
As well as a place to read fiction, the Kindle also doubles up as a guidebook or library of guidebooks as most guidebooks from companies like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides come in the eBook form as well. It’s also a little less conspicuous than a physical guidebook, and having to only carry the Kindle saves a lot of room in my suitcase.
Of course, sometimes the best information, from cruise port guides to lists of what to eat in a destination, isn’t in the guidebooks but on travel blogs and websites like Wikitravel. Again, the Kindle comes in handy here: simply add a Chrome extension like ‘Push to Kindle’ to your browser and you’ll be able to download any useful articles you find and read them offline on your Kindle.
Annick, The Common Traveler
Planning on laying out by a pool while on a cruise? The winds whipping about on the decks lead to a constant battle with the towel. Whether you’re lounging on the chairs or getting up for a drink or quick dip, your towel will not stay in place. Solution? Bring beach towel clips with you! Assign a colour to each family member as they come in pairs. The best part is that these beach towel clips are just as useful when you take a shore excursion to that beautiful beach. We used them during our Southern Caribbean cruise where we enjoyed them on some very windy beaches. The clips open wide enough that they can be used in your cabin to hang up items over closet or bathroom doors. If you’ve got little ones, placing these clips at the top of the bathroom door will prevent little fingers from getting accidentally slammed by the door.
Swimsuit Cover Up
Kirralee, Escape with Kids
The best kind of cruise is somewhere warm and tropical, with ports in glamorous beach locations. The Caribbean, Mediterranean and South Pacific are perfect destinations for a blissfully relaxing holiday.
You don’t need to pack much for a cruise like this. A few swimsuits, sandals, dresses for dinner and sunscreen. But the one essential that you must pack is a cover-up or two. Taking a cover-up means being able to wear your swimsuit to get a coffee or breakfast in the morning. There’s no fussing with changing clothes. Stay in your swimsuit all day if you like, enjoying the pools, hot spas and sun lounges onboard.
If you’re going on a boat trip or to a beach at a port stop, then a swimsuit and cover-up is all you need. True relaxation is when you can leave your cruise ship cabin in the morning with a beach bag, head straight to the beach to swim, snorkel or sunbathe and just throw your cover-up back on at the end of the day to return to the ship.
I now do not cruise without my travel power strip and my 10-foot phone charger cord. The two go hand-in-hand. I immediately plug the power strip into the outlet which then gives me 3 additional plugs and 1 USB port (or 1 plug, 4 USB ports, and a 5-ft extension cord depending on which one I pack). Next, I plug my 10-ft charger cord into the USB port and then I am able to have the use of my phone while in the bed. I surf the internet while winding down, turn on my white noise app to sleep and turn off the alarm the next morning all from the bed. Problem solved!
Insulated Coffee Tumbler